This content ( paraphrased) was taken from Bishop Barron's commentary Pivotal Players video on St. Ignatius from Word on Fire Ministry.
Rooted within the spiritual tradition in the Church, The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius have been universally considered one of the great masterpieces of ascetical theology by the Church.
It’s a complete guide and framework for growing in Christian perfection, which grew out of the saint’s own experiences and in helping others in finding God’s dreams, desires, and will.
The Goal of the Exercises
These exercises consist of meditations in ordered systematic progression with the goal of inner freedom from disordered attachments so as to experience the depths of reality of God’s particular love and providence. Through this journey, we come to heartfelt intimate knowledge of God’s revealed Self in Jesus Christ, as we respond in gratitude giving glory to God in joyous service.
Who are the Exercises for?
The Spiritual Exercises are for those who desire to have a deep intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, to be freed from disorders and attachments with a heartfelt knowledge as the beloved sinner, and to flourish in discovering their true identity, mission, and place in the world through grateful loving service.
To know Christ more clearly
To love Christ more dearly
To follow Christ more nearly
day by day
What Do They Contain?
It is a manual with exercises to be carried out by an exercitant with counsel from a spiritual director. The structure of the guide book of the spiritual exercises opens with 20 introductory explanations and a statement of purpose of the exercises is to help one discard disordered attachments and through this means to order one’s life towards God without coming to a decision from such attachments that are pleasing more to the self than to God.
The Spiritual Exercises consist of meditations on the mysteries (50) in scripture on the life of Christ and 4 main exercises the Call of Christ the King, The Two Standards (Christ and Satan), and the Three Classes of Persons which fosters an adherence of the heart to total commitment to God. While the exercise Three Ways of Humility is called consideration.
The Exercises are Divided into 4 Dynamic Phases called “Weeks”
The first week consists of exercises that are characteristic of the purgative way, the purification of the soul frees so as one advances toward God.
The second-week present exercises proper to the movement of the illuminative was -with the acquiring of virtues in the imitation of Christ where we are called to participate with Him in spreading His kingdom.
The third and fourth weeks have the contemplative characteristics of the unitive or perfective way with activities to establish a habitual and intimate union with God through Christ. We associate closely with Christ in his suffering in the third week and its joy in the fourth week.
The Exercise concludes with a Contemplation to increase one’s love of God.
Guided by the Holy Spirit We Discover
Who am I
Whose am I
How am I called to be
What am I called to do in Christ
The Full Exercises " The Retreat in Everyday Life" ( the 19th Annotation) - 30 weeks
Abbreviated - "The Retreat in Everyday Life" ( 18th Annotation) - Time frame varies
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